Michael Vaughan removed from BT Sport's Ashes coverage following racism allegations

BT Sport will not use commentator and former England captain Michael Vaughan for its Ashes coverage following racism allegations made back in 2009.

Former Yorkshire team-mate Azeem Rafiq implicated Vaughan in his racism claims, however, the 47-year-old has denied all accusations.

Due to what was described as a potential "conflict of interest," Vaughan has been left out of the BBC's upcoming Ashes coverage in Australia following being stood from his BBC Radio show last month.

Vaughan, who apologised last week on BBC Breakfast for "all the hurt" Rafiq experience, will remain as a part of the Fox Sports commentary team this winter.

On Wednesday, the BBC confirmed Vaughan remained "on contract" and that talks would continue over his return to air in the future.

BT Sport holds exclusive UK TV rights for the five-match Test series, which is scheduled to get under way in Brisbane on December 8.

The broadcaster had initially not planned to send a bespoke commentary team and instead been set to take the audio feed from Fox Sports - one of the Australian rights-holders.

In light of recent developments, that position is to be reviewed, with a "hybrid approach" being assessed for the Test matches which Vaughan would be involved with.

This could result in BT Sport putting its own team in place, or opting to use a different audio set-up, such as that from Channel 7, which includes Sir Ian Botham and Ricky Ponting.

"As a result of Covid and travel restrictions, BT Sport had made the decision to take our commentary feed from the Australian host broadcaster," a BT Sport spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

"The recent report presented to UK Parliament uncovering institutional racism within cricket, and specifically Yorkshire County Cricket Club, is extremely disappointing and a concern for all.

"Given these recent events and the controversy with the situation, we have taken the decision that including Michael Vaughan within our Ashes coverage would not be editorially appropriate or fit with BT Sport's values.

"We are still finalising plans, but we are assessing the option of taking a hybrid approach, using Fox commentary where possible with the aim of putting our own commentary team in place if necessary."

Vaughan, meanwhile, has seen his travels plans put back due to a positive coronavirus test.

He tweeted: "I've had to delay my flight to Australia until next week because of a positive Covid test, which is frustrating.

"But at least I'll avoid the rain in Brisbane for a few days! And I'll be no more under cooked than both teams when I get there!!"

The BBC had earlier confirmed discussions were continuing over Vaughan's return to air.

A BBC spokesperson said in a statement: "We're in regular contact with Michael and have had positive conversations with him in recent days.

"Our contributors are required to talk about relevant issues, so Michael's involvement in a story of such significance means it's not possible for him to be part of our Ashes coverage or wider cricket coverage at the moment.

"We're pleased with how our conversations are going and expect to work with Michael again in the future. He remains on contract to the BBC."

Last week the England and Wales Cricket board published a 12-point, game-wide action plan to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination.

England managing director Ashley Giles said there had been lots of reflection from within the Ashes squad in the wake of the racism scandal.

Giles also warned cricket would "have a problem" in the fight against racism unless it gave people "second chances".